This is something you'll have to ask and answer yourself. Obviously you're looking for an alternative as you've paid money for Maxim and are not happy with some element of it or you wouldn't be here. We're big proponents of finding what works for you. AP is hard enough already.
It's primarily an issue in poor star regions which is why Ken recommended to up the exposure time to get more stars. We attempt to reject nebula as well as bright cores but in the absence of stars we may grab them, depending on size. For the most part this doesn't really matter though as our focus works on an average of multiple stars. So a single "bright star" doesn't throw off the focus.